The decision comes months after a callout to see who would take on the city’s violence intervention initiative known as “Cure Violence St. Louis.”
The City’s Board of Estimate and Apportionment put out a request for proposals in March. That was a few months before there were talks of the city no longer funding a program focused on preventing violence.
The national program Cure Violence hires people from the community and trains them as violence interrupters.
“The work that we are doing in communities is really focused on highlighting those who are trusted voices, trusted messengers in the community who are closest on the ground to the problem,” said Wilford Pinkney, director of the Office of Violence Prevention.
Organization leaders say these things go hand in hand with violent outcomes — which makes this a perfect fit.
“one of our main focuses has always been relationships,” said Jason Watson, senior vice president of Engagement. “So to be able to build relationships with individuals that we are serving but also to provide support in relationship for the individuals that we be on the ground doing this intervention work.:
When asked what will be different with the partnership, leaders said it wouldn’t be much at all. Mission St. Louis will still serve the same neighborhoods with the same amount of people.
“The work is rooted in working in defined geographical areas and employing trusted messengers to really get out and engage individuals who are high risk of committing or being victims of violence,” Pinkney said.
In June 2023, the initiative recorded 82 individuals under case management and 58 non-participants interacting with staff. They interrupted seven conflicts.
The contract will officially go into effect on Sept. 1.